Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 24.djvu/453

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Harriot
Harriott
439

figurations. He made 199 observations of sun-spots from 8 Dec. 1610 to 18 Jan. 1613, and determined from them the sun's axial rotation. His telescopes magnified up to fifty times. He first saw the comet of 1607 (Halley's) from Ilfracombe on 17 Sept. His observations upon it were made with a 'cross-staff' giving the distances of the nucleus from various stars. They were published by Von Zach (Berlin Astr. Jahrbuch, 1793, l ter Suppl. Band), and reduced by Bessel, who computed an orbit from them (Monatliche Correspondenz, x. 425). Harriot observed the third comet of 1618 from Sion House nine times between 30 Nov. and 25 Dec. He stated the length of its tail on 11 Dec. at forty degrees.

Harriot corresponded on optical subjects with Kepler, 1606-9 (Kepleri Opera Omnia, ii. 67-74). In one letter he refuted experimentally the opinion that refraction varies with density ; others show him to have been a systematic meteorological observer, and to have prepared a treatise on the rainbow and colours. A tract by him, 'De Motuet Collisione Corporum,' was in Lord Brouncker's hands about 1670 ; his 'Ephemeris Chrysometria' is preserved in manuscript at Sion House. The Egremont collection of his papers in the British Museum is bound in eight large volumes (Addit. MSS. 6782-9), filled chiefly with miscellaneous calculations. The seventh volume contains, besides fragments on mechanics, hydrostatics, specific gravity, and magnetism, a letter from Nathaniel Torporley (f. 117), and the eighth includes letters from Sir William Lower and one from Sir Thomas Aylesbury. A further deposit of Harriot's mathematical papers forms part of the Harleian MSS. (6001-2, 6083). Among them are tracts on harmony, solid geometry, infinite series, extracts from the gospel of St. Matthew translated into French, a short phoranomical treatise (6083, f. 236), and a 'Traité d'Algebre' (in French), in which ad- vances are made towards the application of algebra to geometry. Harriot was designated by Wood 'the universal philosopher' (Athenæ Oxon. ii. 230), and a wide contemporary admiration is attested by Kepler's expressions towards him. His 'Report of Virginia' was published in German at Leipzig in 1607.

[Biog. Brit. iv. (1757); Wood's Athenae Oxon. ii. 299; Wood's Fasti Oxon. i. 212 (Bliss); Von Zach, Astr. Jahrbuch fur 1 788, p. 1 52 ; Monatliche Correspondenz, viii. 30 (1803) ; Correspondance Astronomique, vii. 105 (1822); Kigaud, Proceedings K. Society, iii. 125 ; Report British Association, i. 602 ; Journal Royal Institution, ii. 267 ; Bradley's Miscellaneous Works, App. p. oil ; Robertson's Edinburgh Phil. Journal, vi. 314 (1822) ; Aubrey's Lives of Eminent Men, ii. 418, 578 (information from Dr. Pell and Isaac Walton) ; Thomson's Hist. R. Society, p. 259 ; Hutton's Mathematical Dict. (1815), i. 94, and art. Harriot; ' Montucla's Hist, des Mathematiques, ii. 105; Marie's Hist, des Sciences, iii. 92, v. 140; Poggendorff's Hist, de la Physique pp 100, 114, 119 ; Wilde's Geschichte der Optik i. 190; Wolf's Gesch. der Astr. pp. 318, 402; Ersch und Gruber's Allgemeine Encyklopadie', sect. ii. Th. iii. ; Hakluyt Society's Publications, iii. (1848), Introduction, p. xxix.]

A. M. C.

HARRIOTT, JOHN (1745–1817), projector of the Thames police, and resident magistrate at the Thames police-court 1798–1816, was born at Great Stambridge, near Rochford, Essex, in 1745. His father, who had been in the royal navy and the merchant service, settled there a couple of years previously. His grandfather had been the last local representative of a family which had for centuries been small landowners in Northamptonshire, where they followed the calling of tanners. After a little country schooling young Harriott was put into the navy; served in the West Indies and the Levant, and was shipwrecked on the Mewstone rock on the passage home. Harriott afterwards served under Admiral Pocock at the taking of Havana in 1762, and the recapture of Newfoundland. After the peace he entered the merchant service, went up the Baltic, and, as mate, made many voyages in the American and West Indian trade. He spent several months among the American Indians in 1766; returned home, and in 1768 received a military appointment in the East Indies. His name has not been found on the books at the India Office (information supplied by the India Office). He states that he arrived at Madras in time to take part in the conclusion of General Smith's operations against Hyder Ali. Subsequently he was posted to a sepoy battalion in the Northern Circars, where he also did duty as deputy judge-advocate and acting chaplain for some time. A severe matchlock wound in the leg, received when in command of four companies of sepoys sent against a refractory rajah in the Golconda district, unfitted him for further active service, and after lengthened visits to Sumatra and the Cape he returned home, married, and after trying his hand at underwriting and the wine trade, settled down as a farmer at his native place in Essex. In 1781–2 he recovered from the sea an island of two hundred acres, known as Rushley, situate between Great Wakering, Essex, and Foulness, which had several feet of water on it at spring-tides, by enclosing it with an embankment three miles in length. He after-